Flowers and Fertilizer

At 6:30 I woke up to scrying. It is a shrill scream that ends in a crying choke- the typical choice for children who have woken up (usually on the wrong side of the crib). It is now 7:50. The past hour doesn’t need explaining in detail, in case you read this over a cup of coffee or a quick lunch. I don’t want to ruin it for you.  Let’s just say I’ve accomplished a lot in this past hour. I’ve changed sheets, diapers, and clothing. I’ve fed both boys, put a load of laundry in the washer, been led by the hand to the movie drawer and handed a VeggieTales video, and put a few dishes into the newly working dishwasher. (How many men does it take to rinse out a dirty dish and put it into the dishwasher? No wife has a clue- we’ve never seen it done until the dishes are overflowing the sink.) I literally ran back and forth between children, trying to care for the most pressing need. Before long they matched the pitch of their cries. Brothers…sheesh.

As I slam dunked some trash into the can, I looked at the mail on the counter. I thought to myself, “Whew. I can’t take care of both kids’ needs at the same time! What do I do?!” That’s when I spotted a bright yellow envelope with familiar handwriting. It was a note of encouragement from a treasured friend, Jennifer. In college I had given her the nickname “Sunshine” because of her ability to encourage and uplift. She could always brighten my day.  With a sigh of relief, I opened the card. Just then a tiny hand pulled on my pants and pulled me by the hand to the next room. I call these little interruptions “suspense builders”. When I was able to safely return to the card I saw a bright card covered in flowers. At the bottom of the card in her comforting, neat penmanship read 2 Chronicles 20:12b- “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.” This verse was from Jehoshaphat as he faced potential doom and VERY challenging circumstances. I think he would have gladly handled caring for two leaking, exploding children instead.

Here was the exact answer to my earlier question.  I am a mom who is learning on the job. I have the skills required for the day. I can change diapers, pour Cheerios, make sandwiches, strip and remake beds, give baths, nurse, read books, transform into a tickle monster, and act as a human jungle gym. Beyond that, I must learn how to care for all the needs simultaneously, teaching patience but letting my little people know that I see them, hear them, and love them. I must do it all without losing my mind as well, and somehow mix in the daily chores and all the ‘little emergencies’. So how do I do it while keeping calm and sane? How do I show my children how to do the little things to God’s glory?

I do not know what to do, but my eyes are upon You.

Literally, this has been a pretty crappy morning. Then out of a bright card came encouragement and a little packet of flower seeds. How very fitting.

daisies

Fertilizer causes things to grow faster, healthier, and to be more robust. Beautiful flowers burst forth from a bed of dirt and other yuck that can often be found in my washer or on my kitchen floor 2 minutes after I mop.

On every flower a little rain must fall…and a whole lot of fertilizer. Many of my loved ones are facing hard times. There are rocks, thorns, and nutrient-lacking soil in their gardens. It’s not easy. Everyone will say that motherhood is hard and that we all face the same things. After a few moments of sympathetic pity, we have to pull it together because someone is bleeding or glass is breaking. Rain is a part of it. Still, if anything grows there has to be sun.

A dear friend’s husband was killed in a horrible car accident this weekend. With no warning, she became a widow before 30. Other storm clouds were already billowing, but now she is in a gale that could take her to Oz.

The-Wizard-of-Oz-the-wizard-of-oz-32641116-400-300

Thankfully, she is surrounded by family and friends- those who are bearing the burden and acting as rays of sunshine. Clouds may come between us and the sun, but it is still there and shining. Our circumstances just change what we can see. In those times, we must cling to what we know. We DON’T have to see it to believe it.

friends-under-umbrella-m-i-l-k

Without sun, nothing will grow. Flowers with potential for beauty will wither, die, or simply stay buried. We have a choice. I think flowers have the right idea; they have a hard shell at first and burst through the ground. As they gather strength, they head up and out. As they bloom, they turn to the sun so the light will shine on their faces.

Flowers are a beautiful, sweet smelling and encouraging reminder of how we are called to be to others. Today as I washed my hands of some ‘fertilizer’ that is very common in my life at this point, I was given sunshine and flowers from a friend who reminded me to keep my face pointed toward the Son.

Are you in a storm? Remember that the sun is still there.Will you be a ray of sunshine to someone today?

You don’t need to know exactly what to do. Just keep your eyes focused on the one who does.

Thanks, friends. You are my sunshine. There goes the crying. Jehoshaphat!

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